The best horse I ever knew was a bay stallion with a white star on his face. His name was Junipera strange name for a steed of war, but that’s what he was called when he was born, and his rider never changed it. The rider was the fourth son of the lord of a little place far away south. This boy had heard every tale of every grand old hero ever told, and when each of them was finished, he asked to hear it again, long after the other boys had started sneering at them. His father gave him Juniper on his sixteenth birthday because he had no land left to give, and so this boyhis name was Tristanthanked his father for the horse and the armor and the sword he was given, and rode away from home. He had too many brothers for anyone to miss him much.
Tristan and Juniper wandered the roads for many months, looking for good deeds that needed doing, and after a while they found somelonely things, quiet things in little hamlets and manors at the edges of the land. Tristan’s shield was often dented and often mended. His sword grew notched, but he kept it carefully keen. Juniper grew as fearless as any horse ever born, and the rumor of their coming sent awful things scurrying into their holes.
But the world is not a story, or if it is, the plot is very strange. The people Tristan helped were mostly poor, and though they were grateful when he killed a quiggan or caught an outlaw, it was hard to live on what they gave in thanks. He and Juniper grew both tough and wild, and in safer places where there were no such troubles, he found that people had no use for him. After a while he found himself dreaming of a different life, with warm fires, good food and cheerful friends.
One day, as Tristan traveled through a land south and west of us near a great curve in the mountains, he was met on the road by a lord and his household knights, well-fed men in polished mail astride great horses of war. They commanded that Tristan stop, for they had heard stories of this youth who roved the marches, doing the bravest of deeds for the least of men. The lord bade Tristan attend him at court, where Tristan spoke of his adventures with the grace of perfect truth. The court sat up listening long into the night, and when Tristan was finished, the lord raised his cup and welcomed him as a knight of his household. Tristan was overcome with joy, and swore a sacred oath to serve the lord all his days.
All seemed well at last. Tristan was a gallant young knight in service to a mighty lord, riding at the head of his vanguard in gleaming armor. As the months went by, though, Tristan began to discover something he did not like. He would hear stories of trouble out on the borderlands, just as before: boggans in the millponds, thieves and cutthroats on the roadsthe sort of things he would always go and try to fix when he was on his own. But now he was an oathbound knight, and his lord would never allow him to go help anyone. Tristan’s lord wanted very badly to have more land, even though he already had so much that you could not ride across it all in
The Next Great Fantasy Epic is here! For fans of Ranger's Apprentice and the Chronicles of Narnia.
Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes' honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned!
Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together--and work apart--in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.
In a story reminiscent of the Ranger’s Apprentice epic and the Chronicles of Narnia, Matthew Jobin weaves reality, magic, and adventure into the next great fantasy phenomenon.